As DAB struggles, the range of radio on the internet continues to grow. You can listen to any internet radio station on your computer so long as you've got a broadband connection, but it's much easier to listen via a dedicated internet radio. They look like conventional tabletop radios, and they sound like them too, but they have access to literally thousands of stations around the world, covering virtually all genres and audiences.
You can plug them directly into your internet connection, but they work best with a wireless connection to your computer's broadband, and many of them can even stream music files from your computer, effectively giving you a multi-room sound system. And as well as the internet, most will also offer you the option of DAB and/or FM.,p.
So if you want to listen to blues from Afghanistan, rock from Israel and news from just about anywhere, get yourself an internet radio.
Price: £190 More info: Terratec Size: 215x120x110mm Weight: 1.1kg Speaker: 1x 5W Presets: 10 Receivers: Internet, DAB, FM File streaming: MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, M3U, PLS Connections: Ethernet, USB, aux in, aux out, digital out, speaker out, 3.5mm headphone jack Features: Infrared remote, sleep timer, 20MB hard disk space Colours: Black, white
Terratec NOXON iRadio for iPod
At first glance this incarnation of NOXON's iRadio series seems like a good bet. It has internet radio of course, plus DAB and FM and it's the only radio in the group with in integrated iPod dock, adding another string to an already full bow. It's a useful addition, but if sound quality is important to you, it's not a great one, since the speaker can't really do justice to either radio or iPod, despite the presence of a nine-setting graphic equaliser. The set-up process is the least intuitive of those on test, and it took quite a bit of fiddling with the less-than-obvious control system to get hooked up to our Wi-Fi system.
It's available without the iPod dock for around £50 less but even this seems a bit on the pricey side on account of its flimsy feel. The sound from the single five-watt speaker isn't great though it does have a surprising amount of bass punch, though we found it often tended to sound a bit muffled and uncontrolled, and got a bit too boomy when cranked up. There's the option of an additional speaker to convert it to stereo but it will set you back around £30.
Compact, feature-packed, iPod dock Minus points
Awkward set-up and controls, not a great sound
Price: £146.80 More info: Pure Digital Size: 175x210x110mm Weight: Speaker: 1x 7W Presets: 30 DAB, 10 FM, unlimited internet Receivers: Internet, DAB, FM File streaming: MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, MP2, Real Audio Connections: Ethernet, mini USB, aux in, stereo out, speaker out, 3.5mm headphone jack Features: Alarm clock, timer, rechargeable battery, 'Snooze' handle, Colours: Black
Pure EVOKE Flow
Pure has recently augmented its broad range of DAB tabletops with a couple of internet varieties, chief among them being this sleek looking unit. Encased in glossy black plastic, the build quality doesn't feel as sturdy as their wooden DAB radios tend to, but it is easily the most modern looking device in this largely retro styled test. There's a combination of dials and touch-sensitive buttons on the casing and the menus on the OLED display are easy to follow. Pure's familiar SnoozeHandle is on top which doubles as a snooze button if you use the radio as an alarm.
In addition to offering the huge range of internet radio stations, Pure offers a little bit more with The Lounge. This online portal allows you to search by station name, genre, location, language and audio quality and categorise your favourites in any way you choose, as well as offering recommended stations. You can access the portal via the radio or your PC and any changes you make will be synchronised between them. There's also a wide range of bespoke PURE audio content from PURE Sounds, which features wind chimes and other ambient sounds. If you want battery power you'll need to add Pure's ChargePAK rechargeable battery which will set you back about £30. ,p>
As well as internet it also offers DAB and FM radio reception and you can also use it to stream music from your PC using Pure's own FLOWserver UPnP server. The sound from the single seven-watt speaker is clear and full considering its size and goes loud without succumbing to distortion.
Sleek design, good range of features, The Lounge Minus points
Rechargeable battery not included